This is the third post in the stitch marker series. Check out the previous posts if you haven’t already:
In this post I will take you through two more uses for those great little markers when crocheting amigurumi.
USE #3: Help with counting rounds
I like to use a stitch marker to help with counting rounds when I have multiple rounds in a row of “single crochet in each stitch around”. Make note, this works best when you are working through the back loops only so that you have the front loops to attach the stitch marker to, as well as the lines the front loops make so you can count the rounds easily.
Simply place a marker in the first stitch of the first round you want to count, and then continue to single crochet without moving the marker at the end of each round. When all you are doing is single crochet, with no increases or decreases, it is very easy to count up from this stitch marker the number of rounds you have completed. I love when I get to a point in a pattern where I can do this because there is no stopping at the end of each round to move the marker – you just keep crocheting!
When you count the rounds, be aware that the stitches shift ever so slightly to the right (if you are right handed) with each round, so the stitches are not perfectly stacked straight up and down (the more rounds you have the more obvious this is). Also, make sure you know whether you placed the marker in the first stitch of the round or the last stitch of the round, or things can get confusing!
USE #4: Mark all increases and decreases before starting a round
It is always more relaxing to crochet without having to count stitches. Stitch markers can be used to allow this even when there are increases and decreases within the round. Place a stitch marker where each increase and decrease is BEFORE you start to crochet the round, and then when you are crocheting you don’t have to count! I find this especially helpful when making large amigurumi with many stitches between each increase or decrease, where it is easier to lose track of your counts. It is also handy when there are a different number of stitches between the increases and decreases (ie. not “(inc, 12 sc) 4 times” but instead “7 sc, inc, 10 sc, inc, 3 sc, inc, 15 sc, inc”), so you don’t have to keep referring back to the pattern to figure out stitch counts as you are crocheting.
This technique is also useful because while you are placing the markers for the increases and decreases, you are also double checking that you have the right stitch count at this point in the pattern. If the stitches don’t add up correctly, you will know before you even start crocheting that there was an error in the last round and you can go back and fix it. Less frogging!
What do I like best of all? You can place your work down in the middle of a round and not have to count and figure out where you are within the round when you pick it back up again – all the increases and decreases are marked already! This is especially helpful if you are disturbed a lot by other things going on around you (kids, pets, husbands…).
When marking increases, I simply place my marker on the front loop of the stitch I will be crocheting my increase into, but for decreases I actually place my marker through both front loops of the two stitches I will be crocheting together – this way I know I need to decrease and which two stitches are involved.
I recommend using a different colour or type of stitch marker to mark the start of the round from the increases and decreases, otherwise you might lose track of which marker is indicating the start of the round.
Next in series: Uses #5 & #6
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Until next time,